So there was great interest in creating a beautiful traditional village sign to be erected in the heart of Oxshott, and especially for pledging towards all the costs involved in the sign's production and installation. The majority of people attended our Exhibition of Short-listed Designs over the first May Bank Holiday. The organisers were thrilled by the large number of people who came, who voted - and who pledged. They now have almost 150 members of The Oxshott Village Sign Society!
The Judging Panel met in the evening of Monday 14th May but their work was made very easy by the fact that the community had a markedly strong opinion as to which one of the 34 designs they would prefer to represent our village's history, heritage and its culture. In the voting, this design was way ahead of the second most popular design which itself was way ahead of the remaining 32 designs. Before announcing the winner, the organisers went to see three forges, all of whom confirmed that it's very possible to make the design that so many people voted for. So it is a great pleasure to announce that the winning design chosen by so many residents is the one pictured above, designed by former Oxshott resident, Robert Jones, who's now retired and lives in Cobham. Many congratulations to Robert who worked on this design for many months, constantly revising it.
Every effort was made to get residents, before voting, to evaluate the children's designs on their creative content, not their execution; adult designs received about twice as many votes as the children's despite there being slightly more children's designs on display. The Judging Panel therefore decided to award prizes to the two best children's designs and, once again, their decision was made easy by the way in which residents voted. Therefore it is a pleasure to announce that Christina Steven from Royal Kent and Amelie Wadey from Danes Hill were the two best children's designs in the show and they will each receive a £25 book token. Christina will receive hers from The Oxshott Village Sign Society at a school assembly later this term and we're waiting on how Danes Hill would like us to present to Amelie. Congratulations to both girls!
Apart from a wish to be democratic, the reason the Judging Panel concurred with the strength of the public voting is because the winning Robert Jones design ticks all the boxes of the Design Brief. This sign makes reference to all of Oxshott's history:
- Oxshott was first recorded in 1179 and was known by several names, including Occa's Sceat (meaning the strip of land tended by Occa)
- The coming of the railway in the late 19th century, with passenger and goods trains represented as well as the UK's first ever reinforced concrete bridge
- The brick works, opened by John Early Cook in the late 1880s represented by the brick, the chimney and the coal train
- The Scots Pines and the War Memorial of Oxshott Heath
- The world famous Oxshott Potters created by Denise Wren and daughter Rosemary whose potter's mark was a wren.
- The Royal Kent School which will be 200 years old in 2020, and the church
Of course, this is only the beginning of the design because many aspects have still to be agreed. For example, the bird needs to look more like a wren, we might change the pot on the right-hand side that represents Oxshott's Wren Potters. The trees are likely to change to make them look more like oaks and Scots Pines. The type styles of the words Oxshott and Occa's Sceat 1179 have to be decided. Do we go for just a cut out in two dimensions or do we add some three dimensional elements? Watch this space!! Here are some examples of Village Signs that have proved popular:-